Point of view: PR and WOM can co-exist

Molly Flatt

'PR is dead'. This headline cropped up in Forbes in May last year, but it could as well have come from any business newspaper, magazine, website or blog in the past decade. The redundancy of PR in a cynical UGC world has become a favourite industry theme, alongside case studies of bloggers mounting brand-bashing campaigns after they receive a clumsy mass-emailed press release.

In the Forbes piece, award-winning newsman Jim Nicholls argued that PR's role as controller of that corporate MacGuffin 'the message' has dissolved in the face of our changing habits as consumers of brand content. "Because of this new world of information sharing and audience fragmentation," he explained, "it is important that the messaging in advertising, media (in a PR domain), product packaging, internal and external memos, etc be consistent. Many corporations are still siloed."